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Rocks in My River

It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work,
and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.
The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is the one that sings.
—Wendell Berry

The last line of this Wendell Berry quote caught my attention. The impeded stream is the one that sings. It’s the rock in the river that allows the water to make such a beautiful sound.

Wendell, are you kidding me? Rocks in my river make me swear. I hate it when I’m about to go out and can’t find my keys (again).  A squealing noise in my car, complicated instructions, discovering I’m missing an ingredient in a recipe after I’ve just gone shopping–they all bring out the worst in me.

And those are small rocks, never mind the biggies.

I get it that God often chucks rocks in our river to divert the flow or dislodge new life. I get that I can welcome God’s work in all things. But I hate bumping into rocks and being thrashed about by the turbulence, and I don’t do it gracefully.

Not long after Wendell’s words floated downstream to me, a directee told me about the rocks in her river and her frantic attempts to rest in the flow.

“I feel like I’m a whirlwind,” she said.

“And where is Jesus?” I asked.

“In the middle of it, in the middle of me.”

Minutes before, she told me how she’d experienced Jesus speaking Psalm 139 to her personally. He told her she was knit together wonderfully and that he would be with her no matter where she was.

I pictured Jesus standing in the eye of her stormy being, looking with wonder and delight at the whirling dervish he’d knit together.

That’s how he sees me too. He doesn’t just tolerate me until I come to my senses. He loves me when I’m a senseless brute.

I swear and he hears singing.

I say, “I’m such an idiot” and he says, “That’s my Esther. Isn’t she amazing?”

I was senseless and ignorant;
    I was a brute beast before you.
Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
–Psalm 73:22,23

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